What is the difference between fascism and nazism?
Many politicians and social groups use "fascism" and "nazism" synonymously, and this has confused me (and maybe others) for a long time. Is there any big difference between them, or are the differences so minimal that it's ok to use them as synonyms?
Fascism is the regime/ideology of anti-democracy. The state is absolute and totalitarian and all citizens must follow the state. Whether this applies just to a regime or also to an ideology advocating this form of regime, may be debatable.
National-Socialism or Nazism is a racist and antisemitic ideology which holds that the Aryan race is superior to all other races, and that the government must actively promote the perfect race.
Nazism tends to be fascist, but fascism is not necessarily national-socialist.
Edit: Some comments mention communism. In theory, communism is supposed to be democratic in the long run (the dictatorship of the proletariat is supposed to be just a phase), and many nominally socialist or communist countries pretended to be so (for example, the German Democratic Republic). The fact that in practice it became totalitarian and at times hard to distinguish from fascism (such as under Stalin) is an illustration of its failure. Fascism, on the other hand, is anti-democratic by design.
The expression _"Nazism tends to be fascist"_ is tantamount to something like: _"communism tends to be capitalism"_ or vice versa, or even: _"a chair tends to be a table"_ or _"Germans tend to be Italians"_ which is a bit nonsensical. They are unique and typical for the nations and countries they were developed in and resemble their social, economic, political, and many other characteristics.
@simplicisveritatis No, it isn't. The most clearly nazi regime history has seen was clearly fascist.
@simplicisveritatis, Any ideology of **supremacy** (racial-supremacy=nazism, class-supremacy=kommunism, religious-supremacy=khalifate, etc.) requires some oppression system. When it grows to a size of entire state, the regime turns into a **fascism**. *«The state is a **machine for oppression** of one class by another» — Lenin*. Some regimes may, however, have oppression systems without any ideology of racial/class/religious supremacy, but it is rather useless.
I know that this is the case with Germany, but could Nazism apply to any supremacist who believes the same, just for their own race, rather than the Aryan race? Or is it completely specific to the WWII Nazis?
@gerrit: I guess then people just don't understand the meaning then when they mean it these days with nationalists.
@ParanoidPanda Indeed. Neo-nazis do exist, but the phrase is much overused which dilutes its meaning.
So if I understand you correctly, if the Gestapo kicks in my door because I'm rumored to be harboring Jews; they're nazis for wanting to incarcerate all the Jews, but they're fascists because they kicked in my door? And a non-fascist nazi state would rather take me to court instead of kick in my door?
@Flater: You somehow made it sound so funny! I think with the last question. But yes, that sounds, about right.
According to your answer, so communism is fascism too. Communism is totalitarian, there is only one party, all citizens must follow its ideology, human rights are suppressed. So it fits your definition. But it sounds very odd to me that communism would be fascist. It is like something is missing in your answer/definition. Or I misunderstood it.
@Chupacabras Communism has many different meanings. If we're talking about the reality of Stalinism, then I don't think it's unreasonable to consider it similar to fascism in practice. If we're talking about the utopia described by Marx, Engels and co, then it's quite different (worker council democracy), but that utopia has never come to pass. Note that communist countries *pretended* to be democratic (such as the German Democratic Republic) because in theory, communism is supposed to be democratic. That it in practice became totalitarian and at times fascist illustrates its failure.
@Flater I'd disagree that a court based nazi state would not be fascist. If the laws say you have to give up your jews and you be killed for harbouring them, the state still is totalitarian in implementing its ideology, it just uses rule of law to do so.
@Darkwing: Not necessarily. If an antisemitic law is implemented with genuine democratic majority support, then it's not fascism, and it's also not "the state implementing its ideology". As Gerrit said in the answer, _nazism **tends to be** fascist_, thus meaning it's not _inherently_ fascist.
@immibis there are plenty of people who like the whataboutery of bringing up communism every time fascism is mentioned. It's an annoying kneejerk response.
@pjc50 I guess they assume that everyone who's against fascism must be a communist. How strange.